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. in total, 16 states have passed restrictive voting laws that could shape the 2012 election, including the vital swing states of florida and pennsylvania. well, on monday, naacp president and ceo ben jealous made voting rights the center of his address to the group's annual convention in houston. >> we have a choice to make. we can allow this election to be stolen in advance, as politicians from pennsylvania and recently bragged about money thought no one was listening. talking about his state's voter id law. we can double down on democracy. and overcome the rising tide of voter suppression with a higher daughter of voter registration and mobilization and activation and protection. amy goodman: well, today we're joined by a leader of the civil rights movement who risked his life numerous times marching for the right of all americans to vote: 13-term democratic congressmember john lewis of georgia. he was a leader of the civil rights movement who marched side by side with dr. martin luther king. he served as chair of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, helped organize the fre
, you cannot harass, you cannot intimidate. and before you make any changes in election laws dealing with registration, changing a precinct, local lines for any political position, you have to get pre-clearance from the department of justice or the federal district court in washington, d.c. so, the state of florida, for an example, never sought to get clearance to purge. and they're hiding behind there may be fraud. that's their own. amy goodman: you were on that selma to montgomery march. this. can you explain what happened, as we go back, what, almost half a century now? rep. john lewis: on march 7, 1965, a group of us attempted to march from selma to montgomery, alabama, to dramatize to the nation that people wanted to register to vote. one young african-american man had been shot and killed a few days earlier, in an adjoining county called perry county-this is in the black belt of alabama-the home county of mrs. martin luther king jr., the home county of mrs. ralph abernathy, the home county of mrs. andrew young. and because of what happened to him, we made a decision to march. i
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